Today's moves turn out to be about much more than dropping the chief film and theater critics, who have been asked to write as freelancers. Variety is restructuring its newsroom, declaring itself "less consumer-y," and giving new titles to Kirstin Wilder (managing editor), Steve Gaydos (executive editor), Dana Harris (editor of strategic projects), Carole Horst (associate editor), Paula Taylor (creative director), Ted Johnson and Cynthia Littleton (deputy editors) and Terry Flores (senior editor.) Honcho in chief Tim Gray gives the details in a memo labeled as for internal consumption only [they're probably still laughing about that.] Romenesko has the memo, which urges staffers:
"Ignore the bloggers (who obviously are trying in vain to steal our readers and our advertisers), ignore the obits for Old Media, ignore the negatives and the craziness that this economy has created. The people in the Depression bounced back, and so will all of us who are going through this crisis. I cannot repeat this often enough: Variety is in profit, which means we’re here to stay.
Insult to injury? Despite firing the critics, Gray says "today’s changes won’t be noticed by readers."
The Wrap: Todd McCarthy, with Variety since 1979, was number one in seniority at the trade.